Defense

January 8, 2016
 

KC-135s surpass 100,000 combat hours

Tags:
TSgt. Terrica Y. Jones
Al Udeid AB, Qatar

A KC-135 Stratotanker takes off from the flightline at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Feb. 18, 2015. The KC-135 fleet at Al Udeid AB flew more than 14,700 sorties in 2015 accumulating 103,419 combat hours in support of Operations Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel.

The KC-135 Stratotanker fleet at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, flew more than 14,700 sorties in 2015 accumulating 103,419 combat hours in support of Operations Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel.
“We provide refueling to every flying unit in the area of responsibility which is Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Afghanistan and supported 12 coalition nations,” said Lt. Col. James Murray, the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron director of operations. “We support aircraft 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year so they can do their mission.”
Murray said over 60 KC-135s took part in achieving over 100,000 combat hours. Each KC-135 crew flies an average of seven hours a day and off-loads an average of 50,000 gallons of fuel per mission.

A1C Marshawn Fry, a member of the 340th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit, waits to begin preflight checks on a KC-135 Stratotanker June 7, 2015, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.

Murray said keeping an operations tempo of this magnitude is herculean.
“Imagine 12 airplanes flying 24 hours a day, it’s incredible,” he said. “If we were not out there to give gas to all our receivers they we would have to fly shorter missions.”
Murray said the KC-135’s combat hour achievement was possible because of active-duty, Reserve and National Guard Airmen.
“There are different Air Force components like active duty, Reserve and Air National Guard out here,” Murray said. “There are also different types of tankers on the ramp, with different modifications, so usually a new crew has to be trained or certified in everything that we have here at AUAB. Having an aircrew trained gives us the flexibility to go out and fly any tanker, and our squadron does internal training to make that happen.”
SrA. Timothy Weber, a 340th EARS boom operator, shared what it was like to be part of the combat hour milestone.

A Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail receives fuels from an Air National Guard KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq Sept. 16, 2015. The KC-135 was deployed to the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.

“The tempo can become intense here,” Weber said. “You have to adapt because it’s busy and the environment is so dynamic. You can take off with a plan and it can change drastically when you are in the air, but it gets exciting and I get to see it happen right in front of me, I love flying.”
Murray said the 340th EARS surpassed 100,000 combat hours without realizing it because it happened faster than the unit anticipated.
The combat hour achievement is the result of various units at Al Udeid AB working together to make the mission happen, Murray said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines – September 17, 2018

News T-6 hypoxia problem solved, Air Force announces – The rash of hypoxia-like problems in the Air Force’s fleet of T-6 Texan II trainers was primarily caused by fluctuating concentrations of oxygen in the cockpit, the service said Sept. 13.   Military death benefits won’t be stopped by government shutdowns anymore – Military death gratuities...
 
 

News Briefs – September 17, 2018

Putin inspects war games billed as Russia’s biggest-ever Russian President Vladimir Putin inspected a week-long military exercise in eastern Siberia that involves around 300,000 troops and is being billed as Russia’s biggest-ever. Speaking at a firing range in the Chita region Sept. 13, Putin lauded the troops for their “high-level” performance and insisted the war...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla

B-2s conduct hot-pit refueling at Wake Island

Air Force photograph by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla Crew chiefs and a fuel distribution operator deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., conduct hot-pit refueling on a B-2 Spirit at Wake Island Airfield Sept. 14, 2018. Hot-p...